Teaching and learning

Cairns kindergarten REAPs rewards

Cairns Community Kindergarten in North Queensland received more than $1,700 to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resource collection following their successful bid for funding under the REAPing Rewards Program, IE Journalist Michael Oliver writes.

The REAPing Rewards program is administered by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR). The foundation was established as a partnership between philanthropists, government and business to stimulate rural renewal in Australia. The program supports locally-driven projects and programs that directly benefit the education of young people. Grants can be up to $10,000.

Cairns Community Kindergarten is located in Manunda, a central suburb of Cairns.

Erica Conroy is the Co-Director at the kindergarten. She said the grant will serve as just the boost needed to get the Indigenous cross cultural study program they have planned for so long up and running.

“We have always had a very multicultural group at the kindergarten, but few Indigenous children attend because we are situated near an Indigenous kindergarten called Boopa Werem. I think it is vital then that we find ways to increase our children’s exposure to Indigenous culture.”

The Cairns kindergarten acknowledges the custodians and first people of this country and respects their ongoing relationship to the land and sea. In order to extend this respect by exposing their children to the art and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Australians, the kindergarten made a grant application to the REAPing Rewards program.

“We hope to buy puzzles and big books for group reading, and standard sized books for home borrowing by the children. National, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and bunting will also be displayed prominently to encourage talking points and discussion.

The resource collection will be used during significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dates throughout the year. By incorporating more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander themed learning materials into the curriculum, the service will gently and respectfully expose kindergarten children to the lives and cultures of Indigenous Australians, who constitute more than 10% of the local population.

“This exposure to culture, stories and art may often be the children’s first exposure to Indigenous Australia. By providing a positive and early recognition of the Indigenous community at the kindergarten it is hoped a firm foundation is laid for later attitudes of social inclusion and good citizenship.

“The staff here have been through all the necessary professional development on how to embed Indigenous culture. We just needed the resources now to make this happen, so this grant is great news.”

“I would encourage other kindergartens in regional and rural areas to look at the grants and see if they can get the funding to make their ideas a reality.”

Cairns Community Kindergarten received its funding in the second round of the REAPing Rewards program

There are a huge variety of projects that can be funded by the REAPing Rewards program. Some of the most commonly funded items included:

  • technology to enable kindergartens to comply with requirements of the Early Years Learning Framework
  • equipment to encourage outdoor play and physical activity
  • preschool infrastructure
  • cultural immersion programs
  • arts and music programs
  • literacy programs
  • student leadership programs
  • early intervention programs
  • mathematics and science extension, and
  • programs in high schools

To find out more about the FRRR or the REAPing Rewards program, visit their web site at www.frrr.org.au. The fourth round of funding under the REAPing Rewards program closes 25 August 2014. Outcomes will be announced in late November.